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Illustration graduate Gavin Rutherford designs colouring book to celebrate influential text

School pupils from throughout Dundee are to be given a free colouring book that celebrates the work of the University of Dundee’s first Professor of Biology.

The book will mark 100 years since D’Arcy Thompson’s influential book, ‘On Growth and Form’, was published. Produced during his time at the University, it remains widely admired by biologists, anthropologists and architects.

Literary Dundee has joined forces with the University of Dundee’s Museum Services to create the colouring book, which has been designed by Illustration graduate, Gavin Rutherford.

D’Arcy Thompson was a pioneer of mathematical biology and held the position of Professor of Natural History at University College, Dundee for 32 years.

Gavin’s illustrations for the book have been inspired by D’Arcy’s vast collection and varied research interests, from spider crabs to Huia birds, from skeletons and spirals to sea urchins.

He said “I have a profound interest in the sciences, alongside a strong passion for art and visual design, and so the work of D’Arcy Thompson has always inspired me, informing my intricate illustrations and abstract patterns.

“His work has given me a deep appreciation of the powerful relationship between the beautiful visuals of the world as we experience it, and the hidden realm of science. Through this project, I have the pleasure of communicating this appreciation to younger generations, encouraging them to explore the joys of his life and teachings.“

Matthew Jarron, curator of the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum said, “I’m sure D’Arcy would be delighted that his collection is still inspiring new forms of creativity and discovery today. The museum attracts thousands of visitors annually and this year in particular we want to showcase D’Arcy’s huge international importance through exciting projects like this.”

Peggy Hughes of Literary Dundee said “Gavin’s intricate and beautiful illustrations and Matthew’s expertise are set to make for a wonderful book, an imaginative place for a new generation of learners and thinkers to meet D’Arcy, and a fitting tribute to his legacy and the University’s role in our city of discovery.”

The colouring book will be given to pupils at the start of the new school year in September. For more on Gavin’s work go to